Dr. Ben Carson, a pediatric neurosurgeon at John Hopkins University and a conservative celebrity, on Tuesday warned that people are “terrified” of speaking out against gay rights.

During an appearance on Family Research Council's (FRC) Washington Watch, host Tony Perkins asked Carson why politicians aren't more vocal in their opposition to marriage equality.

“People everywhere from politicians down to the lowliest person in our society, they're terrified,” Carson answered. “You know, we, a nation of people who were brave, courageous, self-reliant, have become a nation of people who are like looking around the corner and saying, 'Can I say this?'”

Freedom of speech, Carson stated, is a founding pillar of our nation.

“And I'm very alarmed that it is escaping us. When I couple that with the Alinskyite-type rules that you make the majority feel that their opinion is the minority opinion. That nobody thinks that way. And that only their opinion is valid. You know, it's quite frightening to see how effectively they've managed to push that across, particularly with the help of the media.”

Writing at Right Wing Watch, Brian Tashman responded: “That's odd, because at CPAC last week several speakers – including Carson himself – openly denounced gay rights and weren't arrested or fined or punished in any way. Maybe all of this oppression is just happening in his own mind, where mere criticism is equated with persecution.”

(Related: CPAC: Ben Carson insists gay people “don't get to redefine marriage.”)